Regarding Rep. Fortenberry’s guest editorial ("Safeguarding U.S. farmland," July 20); Nebraska agriculture is a kingpin industry. In 1982 Nebraska, voters enacted Article XII, Section 8 of the state constitution; aka Initiative 300 or The Family Farm bill. Basically it prevented corporations from buying Nebraska farm land. It was enacted with foresight. Virtually every state in the union had similar legislation at one time or another.
Nebraska’s Family Farm bill finally succumbed to years of relentless, nonsensical attacks by various entities with their own agendas -- lawyers, lawmakers, businesses, organizations and even some farmers -- and died of ignorance in 2008.
American agricultural interests were open to the world after the family farm laws were dissolved, and in 2015 Smithfield Foods shareholders sold their pork processing business to communist China. The sale included Smithfield Foods, Farmland Foods, Cook Foods, Armour-Eckrich and John Morrell. In retrospect, even if Virginia allowed that sale to a communist country, Nebraska, or any other state, shouldn’t have recognized that sale to a communist country.
Since that sale, state legislation has been passed to allow meat processors to also own the production of their product. So Nebraska livestock producers suffered even more cuts to their income while communist China realized more income. What’s wrong with this picture?
Ironically, communist China is using our democratic form of government, employing lobbyists in our state legislatures, to fight for domestic legislation for their purposes without breaking any laws.
Communist China owning 200,000 acres of American farmland is 200,000 acres too many.
Dave Bauer, Lincoln